Stress and Stress Management Strategies


Stress is a natural feeling of inability to cope with particular demands and events. According to Lehrer and Woolfolk (2021), stress is the body’s natural mechanism of defense against any danger that may cause harm. In detail, stress causes an increase in specific hormone levels that prepare the body to confront or evade danger, commonly referred to as the fight or flight mechanism. Stress is experienced differently by people because people react differently to stressful situations. For instance, one person may seem less stressed than another, yet they are facing similar stressors. However, these differences may be attributed to past experiences and mental conditions. There are many causes of any form of stress. Nonetheless, the most common causes include too much pressure, significant life changes, worry, incapacitation, and unpleasant experiences such as hate and abuse.

Types of Stress

There are two types of stress, including acute and chronic stress. Acute stress, the most common form of stress, is usually short-term and develops due to pressures linked to recently occurring events or upcoming challenges. For instance, a person may be stressed due to a recent argument with a loved one or a nearing deadline. However, this type of stress eventually reduces or disappears once a person resolves their problems. Moreover, despite challenges that may cause acute stress, there is always a possible intervention. Therefore, acute stressors are new and always have a clear solution (Rohleder, 2019). On the other hand, chronic stress is a form of stress that develops over time and can be very harmful compared to acute stress. According to Rohleder (2019), chronic stress develops when an individual cannot find ways to avoid their stressors and has quit seeking solutions. For instance, a person may develop chronic stress due to ongoing poverty, unhappy marriages, or past traumatic experiences. Bodies of people with chronic stress find it difficult to return to normal levels of stress hormone activity which can lead to adverse effects.

Impacts of Stress

All forms of stress can have dire consequences on someone’s physical and mental health. For instance, research indicates that stress can affect feelings, thoughts, and behavior (Lehrer & Woolfolk, 2021). If stress is left unchecked, it may lead to increased risks of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Moreover, stress can lead to depression, significantly contributing to suicidal ideations, especially among young adults. For this reason, it is essential to identify one’s stressors and strategies to manage stress to prevent undesirable outcomes linked to stress and depression.

Stress Management Strategies

Stress management includes tools, techniques, and strategies to reduce stress and its associated negative impacts on a person’s mental or physical health. Stress management helps people deal with stress and difficult situations, leading to a more balanced and healthier life. There are numerous strategies to manage stress; however, the common evidence-based strategies include the following:

Identifying Sources of Stress

Stress management is a process whose initial stage is identifying the sources of stress in one’s life. Although it is easy to identify the usual causes of stress, such as changes in jobs and unhappy marriages, it can be challenging to establish the sources of chronic stress. However, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors play a central role in developing an individual’s stress levels (Amanvermez et al., 2020). For this reason, the best approach to identifying the sources of stress is by assessing attitudes, habits, and excuses. Moreover, experts assert that until individuals accept their role in creating or maintaining stress, their stress levels will remain out of control. In addition, individuals can identify their stressors by starting a stress journal where they keep track of their stress episodes and how they deal with them. Besides, keeping such records can be critical in identifying themes and patterns.

Practicing the 4 A’s of stress management

While stress is a response from the nervous system, some stressors occur at predictable times. For instance, employed people have few hours a day to complete extensive work or attend meetings causing inevitable stress. According to Can et al. (2020), an individual can handle predictable stressors by either changing their reaction or the situation. Therefore, people are advised to consider the four A’s (Avoid, alter, adapt, accept) when deciding their options in any given situation. In detail, it is possible to avoid predictable stressors by creating distance between oneself and the stressor factor, such as a co-worker or someone different. Moreover, one can alter stressful situations by communicating clearly and ensuring people understand your expectations. Also, accepting the occurrence of some situations can help ease much stress in case avoiding and altering the situation is not possible. Additionally, adapting or changing one’s expectations or standards of stressful events can promote one’s ability to cope with stress.

Engaging in Physical Activity

High-stress levels often demotivate people causing them to be inactive, yet researchers recommend physical activity as one of the most effective stress relievers. According to (Bischoff et al. (2019), physical activity has numerous health benefits, including increasing the production of endorphins, the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, causing a reduction in stress levels. Moreover, engaging in physical activities can serve as a distraction from the stressful events occurring in someone’s life. However, researchers also recommend that the choice of physical activity should be an activity that one likes in order to increase the likelihood of sticking with it. Besides, one can add some mindful elements, such as paying attention to physical sensations, to break the cycle of negative thoughts linked to overwhelming stress.

Connecting to Others

Different people handle stressful events differently. However, many people tend to isolate themselves during stressful events. However, it is always calming when someone spends time with another person who makes them feel understood and safe. According to research, physical interactions can trigger a cascade of hormones responsible for counteracting the body’s defensive responses associated with stress (Lehrer & Woolfolk, 2021). Consequently, healthy interactions with accommodating people are viewed as a natural stress reliever that helps fight anxiety and depression. While not all people an individual talks to have the capacity to fix their problems, being good listeners is enough to facilitate the process of opening up to someone. For instance, employees and students can reach out to colleagues and fellow students if they have something troubling them. Consequently, one creates and maintains a network of trusted people, thus improving the resiliency to life stressors. For this reason, it is necessary to regularly connect with family and friends in person as a stress management strategy.

Managing Time Better

One of the significant contributors to everyday stress for employees and students is poor time management. When one is stretched too thin and is running behind, one finds it hard to maintain calm or focus. Consequently, one avoids all other stress management strategies, including socializing, thus elevating one’s stress levels. Therefore, it is necessary to have time management skills in order to reduce work or school-related stress (Kassymova et al., 2018). For instance, one of the best time management skills is to avoid over-committing oneself. In detail, scheduling things back-to-back or fitting many activities into a single day is unhealthy. Moreover, it is essential to prioritize tasks and break projects into smaller doable tasks within a specific time frame. Besides, delegating responsibility at home, school or work is an effective strategy to prevent overwhelming stress.

Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

Stress and lifestyle are highly correlated. According to research, a healthy lifestyle can help manage stress or increase one’s ability to cope with stress (Bremner et al., 2020). In detail, people are advised to eat healthy foods because nourished bodies have better energy and clear minds to cope with stress. At the same time, people should reduce their caffeine and sugar intake and avoid alcohol and drug intake. In other words, taking drugs and alcohol may temporarily escape stress. However, masking or avoiding dealing with the issue at hand only worsens stress later. Therefore, it is best to deal with situations with a clear mind that exacerbates stress impacts by consuming drugs and alcohol. In addition, getting enough sleep is a component of a healthy lifestyle that reduces stress levels and fuels the body and mind.


In conclusion, stress is inevitable in a human being’s daily life. Moreover, there are numerous sources of stress in various settings, including school, work, and home. However, everyone can address their stressful events through stress management. In detail, many stress management techniques efficiently prevent or reduce stress levels. For this reason, people should practice stress management, whose first primary step is identifying the stressor factors to manage stress effectively. Subsequently, strategies including engaging in exercises, better time management, healthy lifestyles, and connecting with other people can be practiced to manage stress. Moreover, avoiding, altering, adapting, or accepting stressful situations can effectively facilitate the process of stress management. Consequently, effective stress management helps prevent long-term adverse outcomes, including increased risk for high blood pressure, depression, and heart disease. Although stress is inevitable in a human being’s daily life, it is only harmful to physical and mental health if left unchecked.


Amanvermez, Y., Rahmadiana, M., Karyotaki, E., Wit, L., Ebert, D. D., Kessler, R. C., & Cuijpers, P. (2020). Stress management interventions for college students: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice.

Bischoff, L. L., Otto, A.-K., Hold, C., & Wollesen, B. (2019). The effect of physical activity interventions on occupational stress for health personnel: A systematic review. International Journal of Nursing Studies97, 94–104.

Bremner, J. D., Moazzami, K., Wittbrodt, M. T., Nye, J. A., Lima, B. B., Gillespie, C. F., Rapaport, M. H., Pearce, B. D., Shah, A. J., & Vaccarino, V. (2020). Diet, Stress and Mental Health. Nutrients12(8), 2428.

Can, Y. S., Iles-Smith, H., Chalabianloo, N., Ekiz, D., Fernández-Álvarez, J., Repetto, C., Riva, G., & Ersoy, C. (2020). How To Relax in Stressful Situations: A Smart Stress Reduction System. Healthcare8(2), 100.

Kassymova, K., Kosherbayeva, N., Sangilbayev, S., & Schachl, H. (2018). Stress management techniques for students. Proceedings of the International Conference on the Theory and Practice of Personality Formation in Modern Society (ICTPPFMS 2018)198.

Lehrer, P. M., & Woolfolk, R. L. (2021). Principles and Practice of Stress Management, Fourth Edition. In Google Books. Guilford Publications.

Rohleder, N. (2019). Stress and inflammation – The need to address the gap in the transition between acute and chronic stress effects. Psychoneuroendocrinology105.

Author: Jeff Klein
Find the Writer that Best Suits Your Objectives!